How the SAAB 99 Turbo changed the car industry overnight. #blogpost
The year was 1979 and SAAB was still busy making mad cars with equity mad ideas to follow, but for every idea that completely didn’t work they had 1 or 2 witch did, and did brilliantly witch brings us on to the SAAB 99 Turbo, crucially the turbo part of that name. Now of course SAAB were not the first to try there hand at turbocharging a car that would have been ether BMW or Porsche. However where they company were putting them in there really high end race cars and very expensive road cars, SAAB saw a gap in the market and went for it.
SAAB was the first mainstream road car to come with a reliable, fast, cheap turbo charged car for the masses so the help of SAAB everyone could now experience effortless bundles of power without having to break the bank.
Like Porsche, Saab mixed Bosch fuel injection with a turbo mechanical instead of an electronic system. But instead of a large turbo that would overwhelm Saab’s simple but rugged eight valve, 2.0 litre Four, it went for a very small Garrett T3 turbo that spooled up quickly to produce good amounts of boost even at low rpm’s. The result was an easy going turbo engine that drove smoothly and produced a full 145 hp. That may not sound like much today, but back in 1978 the BMW 320i had only 106 hp.
At £7,000 the 99 Turbo wasn’t cheapest car you could get in the 1970’s, but it was 3 grand cheaper than the equivalent base model 320i and, frankly, the Saab was a much better car as well In fact the Saab was smaller overall, but yet having more passenger space, luggage capacity and it being cheaper, faster cooler, more economical than the BMW, it was a no brainier. Suddenly anyone shopping for a generic grey box could have an excellent turbo car for the same money.
The 99 Turbo debuted after a pilot series of turbocharged versions were “beta-tested” around the world covering hundreds of thousands of miles the previous year so that the Turbocharging system was as robust as there safety ratings.
Coupled with the 2.0-litre engine, boasting a top speed of 130 mph and transforming the 99 from a nice-handling-but-not-too-fast car into nothing short of a hot hatch, maybe even the first true modern got hatch of its day. The 99 effectively unearthed a whole era of turbocharging and made its successor, the 900 Turbo, a legend at home and overseas. It still seems a little unusual that such a significant breakthrough came toward the end of the 99’s production life, rather than at the beginning, but this was SAAB remember so of course it was just another one of there crazy ideas.
Sadly the 99 Turbo was The 99 Turbo around 2 years as it was replaced during 1980 with the new 900–which really wasn’t much more than a 99 with a slightly longer wheelbase, however before the end of the 99 Turbo’s life SAAB gave it one last hurrah with the incredibly rare SAAB 99 Turbo S
The Turbo S was a modified pocket rocket based on a truly incredible car already, so how did they make it better? They added something called water injectionIn simple terms “”””In internal combustion engines, water injection, can spray water into the incoming air or fuel-air mixture, or directly into the cylinder to cool certain parts of the induction system where “hot points” could produce premature ignition”””” Therefore adding additional cooling to the engine, so after adding this new fancy feature to the engine they decided to turn up the boost, it now developed around 160hp witch made the car a blast.
they also added brand new stylish 80’s inspired body kit with an even bigger wing and flared arches, in short they managed to make the SAAB 99 Turbo even better. Sadly it is believed that only 99 were built witch makes them a very rare car indeed.
To sum this all up i would just like to say thank you, thank you to SAAB because without this car, the car that gave turbos to the masses, funny turbo noises and just a simpler way of adding power to all your favourite cars, Subarus, EVO’s, Supras, Skylines ect… the list goes on, they all owe it to this car every one of them, in short The SAAB 99 Turbo changed the car culture forever, and is nothing short of an icon of the car world.
thank you for reading.